Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
So the summer holidays are well underway and we are excited to be full of families enjoying the best of farm life and Cornish attractions. Do take a minute to check out what we’ve been up to during July and see the Cornish events we think you’ll like during August 2019.
Last Minute Availability
We still have a couple of spaces on 17th and 24th August. If you have yet to sort anything this summer and perhaps only have a few days available, get in contact and we’ll see if we can sort something out for a short break. Full weeks are still directly bookable online.
If you are not tied to the school holidays, September is a lovely time to visit. The prices come down and you can book any 3 nights upwards to suit your family.
A heat wave for Cornwall.
We have been enjoying some amazing summer weather this year with long sunny days and real warmth in the sun. Our guests have been relishing the lovely weather and taking advantage of the beautiful Cornish beaches. The little train track on the other hand has been less happy and the expansion joints failed in the heat. Thankfully Farmer Nick is a bit of a DIY superstar and came up with a new engineering solution that he had implemented and running within the day so that no one missed their evening train ride.
Everyone loves a good wedding
Remember Farmer Amber? We’ve always stayed in touch since she moved on last summer and were thrilled to be invited to her wedding in July. Right in the middle of the Cornish heat wave it was a very happy day. We attended in shifts whilst simultaneously managing changeover here at Coombe Mill. Amber and Mo certainly had a fairytale start to what we hope will be a long and happy married life together.
Roar; it’s a Dinosaur!
Activity hour was based around a dinosaur theme for July. We had great fun making medals, painting models and completing a dinosaur trail that finished with finding dinosaurs set in ice that the children had to chisel out. If you are with us for August, don’t forget to sign up in reception. We will be looking at raft races and piñata making.
On the Farm
No news is Good news in summer
July is a quiet month on the farm. The animals have all been chilling out and basking in the summer sun. However, despite the lush pastures down here in the valley they are still happy to come and meet the children from the tractor each morning on the feed run.
The most notable activity of the month was watching the alpaca shearing. Our shearer covers the whole of the UK and Northern France. We have to wait our turn and typically the poor alpaca endured the first round of summer heat with their winter coats still in place. Finally their date arrived and Colin, with his usual swift and competent handling, had Toffee and Caramel looking super smart and lightweight in no time. The difference in their appearance is amazing, as is the way Colin takes time to explain to the children what he is going to do so they understand and are not afraid.
Our Polish Banthams from May have been rehomed locally and we have Mummy Hen and her newborns now occupying their fully enclosed home. Mother and all 8 chicks are thriving in the beautiful summer sun and becomming very accustomed to a daily cuddle.
Cornish Events August 2019 local to Coombe Mill
If you are feeling inspired to visit us in August, here are a few of the local activities you might want to plan your visit around.
Our friends at orchard toys have a super new game out this season we think you’ll love. Let’s Go Lotto explores 4 different forms of transport for young enthusiasts. Choose the train, boat, bus or plane, fill it with passengers and grab a ticket and you’ll be off. As always Orchard Toys bring the perfect balance of education and fun to their latest game which is perfect for 2 – 5 years. To discover more about Let’s Go Lotto and for your chance to win a game for your kids just read on.
The Rules for Let’s Go Lotto
Memory game meets Lotto in this fun travel game. Here’s how to play:
Piece together your chosen mode of transport, there is bus, boat, plane and train to choose from.
Place passenger and ticket cards face down on the table.
Take turns to turn over a square passenger card and see if it matches a passenger on your board.
If it is a match place it on your board, if not place it back face down on the table.
When your passengers are all on board, choose a ticket. The first to match their ticket with their full bus, train, plane or boat is the winner and ready to set off on their journey.
Educational Benefits we Love
Develops matching and memory skills
Encourages observational skills
Supports personal and social skills
Playing Let’s Go Lotto
Why not hop over to the Orchard Toys page for Let’s Go Lotto where you can watch their video of the game, download the rules and this fun to colour picture.
Need to Know
4 jigged transport boards
20 passenger cards
4 ticket cards
1 instruction leaflet
2 – 4
2 – 5
80% recycled materials
Wipe with a damp cloth
Produced and stocked by
Win your Let’s Go Lotto Game from Orchard Toys with Coombe Mill
For your chance to win this educational lotto game simply follow the instructions below. Good luck to all taking part.
It must have been the hottest few weeks of the summer and I was worried everyone would stay on the beach rather than return to the farm to join me for a dinosaur dig led activity hour. I should have more faith, as 4pm approached each week I heard the cars driving back and the children rushing along the footpath to join me. Dinosaurs had sparked their imaginations and they were keen to find out what we would be doing.
The book gave the children inspiration for how to colour in my pre-cut dinosaurs. These came from a lovely activity book by Orchard Toys, traced onto cereal boxes. The children took their time creating their own bespoke dinosaur design before choosing a ribbon colour and hanging them around their necks. Older children cut out the dinosaur shapes themselves.
Painting Dinosaur Models
From previous craft activities, I knew how solid flour and water sets as a paste. This gave me the inspiration to experiment with a stiff flour and water mix in some dinosaur biscuit cutters. I made them in advance leaving them to set overnight, however in the morning they were still quite pliable. Figurring that they just need to dry out more, I popped them in the oven at a low heat turning them every 10 minutes. Within half an hour they were set solid and I left them to cool before taking them along for our craft sessions.
The children had great fun painting them in their own choice of colours and designs into some truly unique stegosauruses and friends.
We left our model dinosaurs drying in the afternoon sun while we headed off on a dinosaur trail to find the dinosaur dig.
The children had to find the different dinosaurs from the Orchard Toys book I’d printed and stuck up along the trail. They had no trouble spotting them and showing me which way they were facing and therefore which way our trail would take us. Each picture had the dinosaurs name, together with the phonetic spelling, which the children attempted at each stop.
The final clue led us to the dinosaur dig. Hiding by the river were blocks of ice with dinosaurs cunningly encased inside. The children soon worked out they would need either a large stone to bash the ice and free their dinosaur from its ice age casing. It makes a creative learning activity and a change from hidding the dinasaurs in the sand pit which I’ve done in the past.
Collecting the children together for a photo by the river with their dinosur dig finds was a callenge. There is always someone looking the worng way, but that’s real life!
I collected the dinosaur clues up on our way back. A few of the children stayed behind to colour in their favourites that matched their model dinosaurs.
How to create your dinosaur Dig at home
Buy an inexpensive pack of plastic dinosaurs.
Pop each dinosaur in a tub of water. I recycled supermarket cartons from veg like mushrooms.
Place the tubs in the freezer to set overnight.
Print off some dinosaur pictures and set them out to make a trail.
Turn out the dinosaurs in ice ( you may need to run them under a warm tap to loosen them).
Place the dinosaur dig ice packs at the last clue.
Let the kids loose on the trail.
The children really enjoyed their dinosaur afternoon each week and would quite happily have carried on making more things. All except one girl that is, who declared she preferred unicorns to dinosaurs. My mind is already working ahead now on a unicorn version!
Finding new and innovative toys from birth upwards isn’t that easy. Toys need to be primarily safe, but also engaging for baby’s discovery in the first few years of life. We thing we may have found the perfect toy. Musical Animals from Baby To Love. This adorable collection introduces babies and young children to the delights of the animal world in a safe, imaginative and soothing form.
Meet the Musical Animals
Choose from Madeleine, Luca, Achille, Vincent and Jean. Each has a music box stored away inside them surrounded by a super soft textured animal in rounded form. These delightful animals come in a variety of pastel colours related to their wild animal equivalent and are sure to be a popular addition to any bedroom or playroom
Each animal boasts a different soothing melody. Simply pull the cord from the underneath of the animal and the tune will begin to play. Madeleine the Whale plays Swan Lake, Jean the Toucan flies in the sky to Over the Rainbow and Achille the Crocodile, who we have, plays the gentle Fur Elise.
What we love
Educational for tiny tots:
Helps to stimulate curiosity.
Helps sensory development of vision, hearing and tactility.
Beautifully crafted with no sharp edges.
Soft yet durable.
Would make a great present for a baby shower or first birthday party.
Here’s how my Nephew enjoyed meeting Achille the Crocodile
We were sent our Musical animal: Achille the crocodile for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Achille can be found in the Coombe Mill Games room toy box for all our holiday guests to enjoy.
I had a real mixed age range for half term on the farm and wanted to come up with a craft that would appeal to them all, especially the 9 and 10 year old boys who I suspected wouldn’t join in if the activity wasn’t spot on. I’ve not run a session of bow and arrow making in years, however I had inkling it would be right up these boys street from youngest to oldest. I was right, despite being the nicest day of the week I had quite a gathering return from the beach in time to join in.
I had enlisted the help of Guy who, reliving his own childhood had made a template for us to follow. He and his brothers then proceeded to fire it around the garden and I was worried it wouldn’t survive till activity hour! Turns out it was well made and only a lost bow into the trees needed recreating.
Sticks from the Fairy garden
Guy had been pruning some trees for Farmer Nick and saved the best bow style twigs to scatter in the fairy Gardens for the children to find. They also each chose a length of bamboo for a lightweight arrow.
Back at the craft tables Guy whittles notches in the end of the bows and arrows. He also explains a little knife safety.
Making a Bow and Arrow
Now we were ready to turn twigs into bows and arrows. We used strong string in the groves cut by Guy to create the bow. A length about 20 cm over the length of the stick is ideal for tying and tensioning. A slight bend in the stick will occur, just like a real bow.
Bow and arrow decoration
We used a mix of colourful floristry ribbon and wool to decorate our bow and arrows. Some of the boys just wanted to go straight into play, but when I reminded them we needed to identify whose arrow went furthest they relented and began to choose their colours and materials. By the end even the most reluctant was embellishing their design with a wrap around hand grip.
Making a Target board
To make things more fun I laid a white sheet down on the slope of a hill and the children helped me paint around a dustbin lid to make a target. This is perfect for giving them a direction to fire in and something safe to aim for.
Target practice fun
Needless to say they had a great time firing at their DIY target. To make things fair the younger children were helped by parents and stood closer. The older ones relished the challenge of standing further and further back.
Tips if you try this at home
Tension good quality the string well.
Use a stick with a slight bend for the bow but not too flexible or it may snap.
Keep the stick to a maximum of ground to chin height, otherwise it may become unwieldy to use.
Arrow needs to be long enough to pull back without going beyond the string.
Ensure arrow is straight to control direction.
Having a target keeps a focal point to the firing.
Make sure children are supervised with using the knife.
Why not make a nature crown or headdress to go with your bow and arrow.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.